Friday 6 September 2019

SAY Award 2019 shortlist - artists feelings and tastes

Speaking about being included on this year’s Shortlist of 10 outstanding albums, Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert: “We're very happy to find ourselves on this year's SAY Shortlist – in just a few years it's become an essential celebration of Scotland's huge and diverse musical output, and we're looking forward to discovering a few new names too.” 

Andrew Wasylyk said: “To have snuck on to the Shortlist alongside such brilliant records is a deep privilege and an honour. I'm looking forward to saluting these wonderful Scottish artists and their work."

Auntie Flo said: “Radio Highlife is a result of seven years of musical collaborations and sonic adventures with dozens of amazing people I've had the fortune to meet on my travels as a DJ. It is great that the album has been recognised for this year’s SAY Shortlist.” 

C Duncan said: “I feel very honoured to be in the Shortlist for The SAY Award given the calibre of the other nominees. It is such an eclectic list that really shows how diverse the musical scene in Scotland is.”

Carla J Easton said: “I feel like I'm dreaming. 'Impossible Stuff' is the album I have always wanted to make and simultaneously the album that almost never happened. The journey it continues to take me on surprises me each and every day.”

Fergus McCreadie said: “It’s truly an honour to be included on such a prestigious list. The Scottish Jazz scene is coming to be a force to be reckoned with, and to be representing that scene (especially amongst some really incredible albums) is such a pleasure.”

Free Love said: “We're both really honoured to be on this year's Shortlist with ‘Luxury Hits’. A lot of love, sweat and hard work went into the making of it.  For a country that punches so high above its belt in musical output, we're very proud to be considered for this award.”

Karine Polwart (with Steven Polwart & Inge Thomson) said: “The SAY Award has brought so much new music to my ears over the past eight years. But for me, the key breakthrough has been Kathryn Joseph.  ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ is emotionally devastating, visceral stuff, as is ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’. She’s a legend. And her ascendance on the Scottish music scene - her rawness, her vulnerability, and her sheer human loveliness - is evidence enough of the value of the award.”

Kathryn Joseph said: “I am very, very proud to be on the Shortlist this year and everyone else on it is amazing and beautiful. I cannot wait to wrestle so many great humans that I love and we are a very lucky land to have such a great and generous music award that everyone can be part of.” 

Mastersystem said: “The most important thing about being nominated is the fact we are there as a result of a public vote. That recognition means more than anything. Thank you.”
Andrew Wasylyk’s most influential Scottish albums included Michael Marra’s‘Posted Sober’, The Delgados’ ‘The Great Eastern’, Trashcan Sinatras‘Weightlifting’ and Boards of Canada’s ‘Geogaddi’. Andrew also chose The Beta Band’s ‘The Three EP’s’, saying: “In 1998 I was on the cusp of leaving school. These E.P.’s seemed to echo that period of change - brimming with possibility and excitement. They always had wonderful artwork too. I’ve still got my ‘Flower Press Issue 2’ fanzine.”

Carla J Easton picked from a huge range of Scottish albums, to create her top five including Lungleg’s ‘Maid To Minx’, V-Twin ‘The Blues Is A Minefield’ and is the second Shortlisted artist to choose The Beta Band’s ‘The   Three   EP’s’.   Carla   also   chose Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Songs From Northern Britain’ saying: “Teenage Fanclub remind me of my big brother. He played their albums constantly when I was growing up and the songs would bleed through my walls (our house is legit made from straw!). It showcases all three songwriters perfectly. I’m in the Fanclub ‘Fanclub’ on Facebook and someone posted about the three styles of writing in a way that – for me – sums it up perfectly. Norman – I love you let’s get out the city, Gerry – I love you let's go to outer space, Raymond – I love you please-don’t-ever-f*****g-leave-me.”

C Duncan spoke about his love for Cocteau Twins ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’ saying “For me, this is one of the most melodically beautiful albums ever written.” C Duncan also picked Billy Mackenzie - 'Beyond The Sun’ commenting, “This album is sublimely enigmatic and unusual.”

Fergus McCreadie selected his favourite Scottish albums and included Konrad Wiszniewski ; Euan Stevenson’s 2013 SAY Longlisted album ‘New Focus’, saying: “I grew up with this album (the pianist Euan Stevenson was my teacher, so that’s maybe why!) It’s extremely eloquent and well arranged.”Fergus also chose Tom Gibbs’ ‘Fear of Flying’ and Tommy Smith’s ‘Beasts of Scotland’.

Free Love chose a bunch of great records including Ivor Cutler ‘Jammy Smears’, Mogwai ‘EP + 6’ Arab Strap ‘Philophobia’, Errors ‘Have Some Faith In Magic’ plus Cocteau Twins ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’.

Speaking about ‘Philophobia’ by Arab Strap, Lewis from Free Love said: “This album was my introduction to Arab Strap when I was about 14 and to me it was punk without all the hackneyed tropes. It was recognisable and real, bold and provocative, but also personal and emotional.” Of the Cocteau Twins’ record, Suzie said: “There's something otherworldly about the chorus riddled guitars and Liz Fraser's somersaulting, often unintelligible vocals that take us on a soft focus journey to a pop dream world.”

Karine Polwart with Steven Polwart & Inge Thomson also picked The Cocteau Twins ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’ saying: “I went to school in Denny and local heroes The Cocteau Twins were living proof that gorgeousness was possible. Heaven or Las Vegas is by far my favourite of their albums. Every member of that band was a creative genius, but Liz Fraser’s voice, her broken, bonkers lyrics and melodic idiosyncrasy are transcendent. To me that band sound like Grangemouth at night, all neon lights and steel and futuristic spires. And nothing will make me dance round my living room like Iceblink Luck.” 

Additionally, Karine Polwart chose Dick Gaughan ‘Handful of Earth’ commenting: The subsequent Scottish pop of the 90s pretty much passed me by, because I was obsessed with song archives and late night folk sessions at the time. The key to the door was Leith legend Dick Gaughan’s classic album Handful of Earth. It’s a soulful master class in how to make centuries old songs sound as fresh as the day they were born. And it reminds me of my grandfather.”

And finally, Karine Polwart picked Martyn Bennet ‘Grit’ saying: “I was sound checking with a trad song project called Scottish Women when Margaret Bennett first let the mighty Traveller singer Sheila Stewart hear herself sampled on Move, the opening track of her son Martyn Bennett’s 2003 album Grit. It was an amazing collective moment. None of us had heard anything quite like it. That album, how it combines trad archive recordings, beats and classical orchestration skills, transformed what Scottish folk music could mean, and do. It was a total game changer.”

Kathryn Joseph chose A Mote of Dust’s self-titled album, crediting the album with helping her to create her own masterpiece, saying: “Hearing this record played live and how much it affected me is why ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’ exists because it broke my brain open. The way music can make you feel the truth of things is amazing.” 

She also chose The Twilight Sad’s ‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’, commenting: “This record and these humans is/are perfect and I am broken hearted that it isn’t on the Shortlist this year because it deserves to be. They are the soundtrack to me getting to go and tour America for the first time and if I could spend my life listening to them play all of these songs every night for the rest of my life, I would die happy. The noise they make is beauty and the way they make it feels important to all of us humans trying to be ok. There is no one better live.”

For her final record, Kathryn Joseph selected Mogwai’s ‘Les Revenants’ adding: “This is maybe my most listened to record – it is perfect beauty.” 

Winners of this year’s public vote, Mastersystem selected two classic Scottish albums as their favourites, choosing Idlewild’s ‘100 Broken Windows’ with Grant Hutchison saying: “This album made me want to be in a band because of its raw, raucous sound and simplicity and unashamed rough edges.”Mastersystem also chose one of Scotland’s biggest bands, and their good friends, The Twilight Sad’s ‘Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters’ as their second choice, with Grant saying the album “changed my life and is the best example ever of powerful ear splitting noise and beautiful emotional vulnerability.”

You can listen to the curated list of treasured Scottish albums via The SAY Award Playlist here
The winner of Scotland’s national music prize, The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2019, will be revealed tomorrow (Friday 6 September) as the ceremony moves to Edinburgh for the very first time, at The Assembly Rooms.

An audience of artists, esteemed industry figureheads and engaged music fans from all over the UK will gather at the final award ceremony in a stunning celebration of Scotland’s flourishing music scene, with emerging Scottish acts LYLO, Heir of the Cursed, Cucina Povera and Man of Moon showcasing at the event. Presented by co-hosts Vic Galloway and Nicola Meighan, the night will end in style by announcing the winner of the prestigious award, as well as the lucrative £20,000 prize.
The SAY Award Shortlist, in alphabetical order –
  1. Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert – Here Lies The Body
  2. Andrew Wasylyk – The Paralian
  3. Auntie Flo – Radio Highlife
  4. C Duncan – Health
  5. Carla J. Easton – Impossible Stuff
  6. Fergus McCreadie Trio – Turas
  7. Free Love – Luxury Hits
  8. Karine Polwart with Steven Polwart & Inge Thomson – Laws of Motion
  9. Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake The Want Is
  10. Mastersystem – Dance Music

Developed by the Scottish Music Industry Association, 2019’s campaign is delivered in partnership with Creative ScotlandCity of Edinburgh CouncilYouTube MusicHarviestoun BreweryTicketmaster New MusicPPLSweetdramThe Queen’s Hall and charity partner Help Musicians Scotland.
Now in its eighth year, previous winners of The SAY Award include Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).

Follow The SAY Award’s 2019 journey on Twitter @SAYaward, Instagram @sayaward and Facebook @SAYaward

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